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Eminent Victorians Summary
Lytton Strachey

Everything you need to understand or teach Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey.

  • Eminent Victorians Summary & Study Guide

Eminent Victorians Summary


In Eminent Victorians (1918), Lytton Strachey examined the lives of four famous English individuals from the Victorian Era and found that they were not quite what previous biographies and popular legend had made them out to be. The four in question were Cardinal Manning, the leader of England's Roman Catholic community; Florence Nightingale, the nurse; Thomas Arnold, the educational reformer; and General Charles George Gordon, a soldier and adventurer.

Strachey sought a new approach to biography. The typical, sprawling two-volume Victorian biography presented its subject in the best possible light, ignoring any aspects of the life that might tarnish the person's achievements. Strachey determined that these large and tedious volumes, full of what he called "ill-digested masses of material," did a disservice to the art of biography. In contrast, he wrote short, pithy, artful biographies that told the truth about the subjects as Strachey understood it. The result, in Eminent...

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